If 2 people were fighting, but they are also completely exhausted, and they can barely hit each other hard, what would you use to describe it?

The fighters were ____________, and barely able to continue.

closed as off-topic by marcellothearcane, Robusto, lbf, David, Mitch Aug 15 at 12:43

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    What is wrong with exhausted? Where will you use this word? – marcellothearcane Aug 5 at 21:26
  • 1
    @Cascabel - I wander what sort of research. The OP might have posted in this case. – user067531 Aug 6 at 5:27
  • 1
    They are 'slugging' it out, I would say. The meaning is more idiomatic than Merriam Webster lists. – Nigel J Aug 6 at 10:13
  • @user067531 I really do not know what research could be done, but as you can see, that is what users are closing it for. I thought it was a decent question. – Cascabel Aug 6 at 13:48
  • @Cascabel - yes a decent question closed by indecent CVs – user067531 Aug 6 at 14:22


Originally it referred to a form of dementia caused by being hit in the head too many times..

suffering from brain injury from repeated blows to the head : affected with or exhibiting chronic traumatic encephalopathy

But I have also seen it used to describe fighters in the ring who have have had all the fight beat out of them. Most fights these days are not like the 100 rounders from a century or so ago; nowadays the referee will usually (or should) call the fight on points.

More recently the usage has extended to just about any situation in which the person is dazed and confused, whether from love or some other emotional disorder.

behaving as if punch-drunk : dazed, confused

Both from Merriam Webster

An example from out of the ring:

The merman was practically punch-drunk from watching the mermaid dance at the sea-prom.

-The unofficial Harry Potter vocabulary builder


The fighters were reeling and barely able to continue. Dictionary:

verb (used without object) to sway or rock under a blow, shock, etc.:
The boxer reeled and fell.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.